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Ypres

Ypres, located in the western part of Belgium, holds a significant place in the history of World War I. The town was heavily damaged during the war, but has since been rebuilt and serves as a memorial for the fallen soldiers and a symbol of peace. Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking to pay your respects, Ypres is a must-visit destination in Flanders Fields.

Location

Ypres is a town in the province of West Flanders in Belgium. It is located in the heart of Flanders Fields, a region that encompasses several towns and villages and serves as a memorial to the soldiers who lost their lives during World War I.

Getting There

Visitors from the UK can choose between the channel tunnel or a ferry crossing to France. Once you arrive in France, it’s only a one hour drive to Ypres.

The nearest major airport to Ypres is Brussels-Zaventem Airport, located approximately two hours away by car. From the airport, you can take a train or bus to Ypres. The town is also easily accessible by car, with several parking options available in the center.

Best Things to See and Do in Ypres

  1. Menin Gate Memorial
    The Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres is a must-visit for anyone visiting the town. The memorial honors the soldiers who lost their lives in the Ypres Salient battles and whose graves are unknown. The Last Post ceremony, held every evening at 8 pm, is a moving tribute to the fallen soldiers.
  2. In Flanders Fields Museum
    The In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres offers an in-depth look into the events that took place during World War I. The museum showcases interactive exhibitions and displays that bring the war to life.
  3. Ypres Cloth Hall
    The Ypres Cloth Hall, also known as the ‘Lakenhalle’, is a magnificent building in the center of Ypres that dates back to the 13th century. The hall was severely damaged during the war, but has since been restored and serves as a museum that chronicles the town’s history.
  4. St. George’s Memorial
    Church St. George’s Memorial Church is a beautiful and peaceful place of worship that serves as a memorial to the fallen soldiers of the British Empire. The church features stained-glass windows and a tranquil garden, making it a peaceful place to reflect.
  5. Ramparts Cemetery
    The Ramparts Cemetery is located on the outskirts of Ypres and is the final resting place for many soldiers who lost their lives during the war. The cemetery is a peaceful and well-maintained site that serves as a testament to the sacrifices made by the soldiers.
  6. Market Square
    The Market Square in Ypres is a charming and bustling area that is surrounded by historic buildings and cafes. The square is the center of the town’s social life and is a great place to people-watch or enjoy a cup of coffee.
  7. Talbot House
    Talbot House, also known as Toc H, is a museum and cultural center that was established during World War I as a place of rest and relaxation for soldiers. Today, the house serves as a museum that showcases the history of the building and its role in the war.
  8. Bellewaerde Park
    Bellewaerde Park, located just a short drive from Ypres, is a family-friendly theme park that offers a range of attractions, including roller coasters, water rides, and animal shows. The park also features the Bellewaerde Aquapark, a fun and exciting water park that’s perfect for a hot summer day.

Things to see and do nearby

  1. Tyne Cot Cemetery
    Tyne Cot Cemetery is the largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in the world and is a testament to the sacrifices made by the soldiers during World War I. The cemetery is the final resting place for more than 11,000 soldiers, most of whom died during the Battle of Passchendaele.
  2. Passchendaele Museum
    Located in Zonnebeke, the Passchendaele Museum offers an immersive experience that brings the events of the Battle of Passchendaele to life. The museum features interactive exhibitions, dioramas, and audio-visual displays that provide a comprehensive overview of the battle.
  3. Trenches of Death
    Located in Diksmuide, the Trenches of Death are a preserved section of the battlefield that provides a glimpse into the daily life of soldiers during World War I. The site features a trench system and underground bunkers, offering a hands-on experience for visitors.
  • Ostend is 50km away
  • Bruges is 70km away
  • Ghent is 80km away

Conclusion

Ypres is a beautiful and historic town that serves as a memorial to the soldiers who lost their lives during World War I. Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking to pay your respects, Ypres is a must-visit destination in Flanders Fields. With its rich history, charming market square, and numerous cultural and historical sites, Ypres is a destination that will leave you with lasting memories.